Chapter Story – Part Two
“What?” I said and jerked back. He must be wrong, hallucinating most likely. Sebastian was dead. I had been at the funeral, crumpled to the ground, unable to hold my anguish inside. Old Lady Selena had brought hyacinths to the funeral. The scent still made me nauseous.
“He’s alive. Sebastian is alive,” he said louder, his voice raw from the cold, dry air. His eyes pleaded with me to believe what he said.
“That can’t be,” I said more to myself than to him. “I watched Sebastian disappear under the ice, his hand slipped from mine. No one could survive that. No one.” I shook my head as I spoke. Sebastian’s body wouldn’t be found till spring, more like summer, not until the ice melted and lifted its shackles of isolation.
“He’s alive.” Morgan clutched my hand harder. His breath wheezed in and out, smelling of musky, cold air from a shuttered cave. His once vibrant green eyes were muted and milky as if something other than himself resided in his body and peered out at me.
I squinted, wondering if there really was something else, and moved closer. My imagination loved to run and jump over reality and make its own paths and images. Was this one of those times? Me, being too inventive? But the light from the stove was bright now that the fire cracked and popped with life, and I could see quite well.
His body quaked and shivered, as if something tried to wrangle free, and his eyes widened with fright. His fingernails dug into my skin, and his forearm pulled me closer, an inch from his face.
The cold, musky cave smell wafted out from his mouth and covered my face, like an invisible hand taking hold of what it wanted. I wrenched backward with all my might, but I remained where I was, unable to move or look away.
“Sarah, the time has come,” Morgan said or . . . it said, his voice different, lower, scratchy, older, like an ancient Kambra from the other side of the mountains. They had been annihilated centuries ago, long before me, but I had grown up with the stories of what they were, their inexplicable sound, and their unbelievable power and strength.
I struggled to get away, to not be so damn close to this thing that quaked and shivered on my floor, its breath holding me like a god holds a speck of sand between its fingers.
“You must travel west to the Houlybroch Den. Find the traveler, dressed black, with the bent lip.” And then Morgan’s body relaxed, its gyrating stilled, and the cave-breath released its hold.
The milky color in his eyes swirled, like a snake tightening into a circle and then stretched down toward his nose. A sliver of translucent white slipped out from one nostril and slithered through the air to the frozen window where it escaped, as if there were no glass to bar its way.
I jumped back, kicking Morgan’s body away from me. My back slammed against the front door. I hugged my knees to my chest, tucking my long night dress in around my legs and ankles, and squeezed myself as tight as I could.
What the hell was that?